Part 2 - Results
and table - printer
Though eleventh place in the Second Division
in 1911 was Leeds City's best finish since Frank
Scott-Walford's appointment as secretary-manager three years
before, the grounds for celebration were meagre. For a board of
directors that coveted promotion so jealously, mid table mediocrity
provided no succour. Further, the club's financial position remained
precarious and there were no funds to squander on expensive signings.
Scott-Walford set off on his habitual scouting mission to Ireland
in May. The Emerald Isle had offered reasonable pickings in previous
years, though the reward from shopping in football's bargain basement
was generally budding potential rather than the finished articles
that City so desperately required. But needs must and Scott-Walford
had few options.
He secured the signatures of Belfast Celtic keeper Leslie
Murphy and right-back Edward
McDaniel, Shelbourne's Willie Briggs, John
Clarkin and Joe Moran,
Distillery left winger Jimmy
Fortune, Jack Leney from Irish Guards and John and Frank
Heaney (St James Gate). The eight expanded the substantial
Irish contingent already ensconced at Elland Road. Indeed, when
City returned to play a friendly against Bohemians in December
they were able to field an all-Irish eleven, with two more travelling
in reserve and a clutch of others left kicking their heels in
the West Riding!
The signing of Murphy was crucial. Harry
Bromage, a veteran of 143 League games, had departed for Midland
League Doncaster Rovers, leaving 21-year-old Tony Hogg and the
amateur, Cecil G Reinhardt,
as the only keepers on the books, and City sorely needed an experienced
last line of defence - their rearguard enjoyed a modest reputation.
Murphy fitted the bill; he had played for the Irish League against
the Scottish League and was recognised as one of the most accomplished
custodians in the country.
The keeper was the one new man included in the eleven that played
at Nottingham Forest on the first day of the season. City were
captained by stout centre-half Tom Morris, whose predecessor,
Stan Cubberley, flanked
him in the half-back line, along with the Scot, John
Harkins. George Affleck and Alec
Creighton continued the full-back partnership that had only
been parted on one occasion in 1910/11, while the forward line
of Hugh Roberts, Tom
Mulholland, Billy McLeod, Billy
Gillespie and Fred Croot was generally considered to be the
strongest available combination.
The game was played in tropical conditions and Forest were strong
opponents. They had many years of First Division experience to
their name and had only spent one season in the second tier, in
1907 when they secured the title.
Starting as if they meant their second stay to be every bit as
brief, Forest were all over City from the first whistle with Hooper,
Morris, Ford and Derrick all going close. After fifteen minutes
they got the goal they deserved when Morris headed home from Hooper's
City had hardly featured as an attacking force, but now came
into the game and were on level terms within six minutes when
McLeod forced the ball home after Forest keeper Hanna could only
parry a Roberts shot.
City drew fresh heart from the equaliser and Gillespie and Croot
both had chances before Forest regained the lead just before the
break, Morris completing his brace.
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The second half was all Nottingham but there were no further
goals. The Peacocks could make a valid case that they had been
unlucky: McLeod had a goal disallowed for offside and then justifiable
claims for a penalty were waved away; the reality was that anything
other than a Forest victory would have been a travesty.
That said, City's performance against a decent side had much
to commend it. Wanderer in the Leeds Mercury: "The Leeds supporters
need not shed any tears over their defeat. It was a big task that
the visitors were faced with, and, on the whole, they came through
it well ... The feature of the match, so far as Leeds were concerned,
was the splendid defence, especially that of Creighton and Murphy.
The sturdy little back time after time upset the calculations
of the clever Notts forwards with his fearless tackling and clean
kicking ... Murphy displayed a knowledge of goalkeeping which
fully justified the reputation that came before him. He was as
agile as a cat, and the ovation he received - quite the finest
I have ever known a visiting player get - at the conclusion of
the game was well deserved.
"There were many good movements worthy of a score, but failure
to do the right thing at the right time in front of goal was noticeable
more than once ... Gillespie did a good deal better than
I expected as Croot's partner, and may prove a useful man in that
position. He has plenty of tricks, but he might think a little
bit more about shooting - a remark which applies to the other
City made three changes for the game at Burnley two days later,
giving debuts to Joe Moran and wing-half Sam
Johnson, a close season capture from Coventry City, and recalling
Joe Enright, with Harkins,
Cubberley and Mulholland making way. Gillespie was tried at centre-forward
with McLeod switching to No 8, but the combination was not successful
and neither man played to his potential.
The Peacocks started brightly, and took a fifth minute lead.
Gillespie took a pass from Morris and fed Croot. The winger made
one of his customary runs down the left flank and fired in a lovely
centre. Either McLeod or Gillespie could have converted the chance
but it was the former who ran in to fire home.
Burnley were on level terms within six minutes after Mountford
drove the ball in. Mountford then struck the crossbar before Burnley
went ahead from a counter attack with ten minutes remaining when
Freeman scored smartly after a Harris centre.
City lost their way in the second half and Burnley took a 3-1
lead eight minutes in. Mountford, Harris and Freeman moved away
in smart combination after a throw in and fooled Murphy by some
close work before Mountford slid the ball home.
Minutes later the keeper atoned for any flaw on his part in that
incident when he saved a penalty awarded for a foul charge by
Twenty minutes from time Roberts broke away down the right flank
and centred to Enright, who took possession and made his way towards
goal before firing into the corner of the net to make it 3-2.
City pressed for an equaliser, but the issue was ended in the
80th minute when Mountford, who had been in capital form all game,
completed his hat trick and registered Burnley's fourth goal.
Two difficult away games had made for a challenging opening and
the home match that ended the week, with fancied Chelsea the visitors,
was every bit as demanding. However, City gave their best performance
so far and secured their first point with a goalless draw.
They were the better side, as reported by Gauntlet in the Leeds
Mercury: "On the one side (Chelsea) there was science, 'frigid
and calculating,' on the other (City) the fire and energy of youth,
and ... the unorthodox but enterprising players nearly got the
verdict. As it was, they certainly had the better of the draw.
In the first half they appeared to be a little overawed by the
paper eminence of their antagonists, and by the memories of two
previous defeats, but in the second they cast misgivings to the
wind and went boldly out for a win or a whacking."
Murphy again won the praise of the local papers, with Gauntlet
describing him as "that remarkable young goalkeeper ... extremely
quick, cool and clever" and possessing "innate prescience of what
the enemy has in his mind's eye, which marks the great goalkeeper.
He gets the ball quickly, and gets rid of it with punctuality
and despatch, and without any monkey tricks."
In the first half the keeper slipped to let Chelsea forward Brown
in but his luck was good when the shot struck the upright. Hugh
Roberts led the Chelsea rearguard a merry dance and on one occasion
should have scored but his finish lacked confidence and ran wide.
The winger played a storming game and made many fine openings
with his smart runs and crosses, though there were no takers.
On one occasion, McLeod, Gillespie and Enright all failed to act
as a raking centre flew past them with the goal gaping.
The City forwards faced criticism for over complicating their
play, set on dribbling the ball over the line rather than shooting.
The selectors had persisted with Gillespie at centre-forward and
McLeod to his right, but the combination was ineffective. McLeod
did get the ball in the net in the closing minutes but was penalised
Nevertheless, it had been a promising performance. It was therefore
particularly galling that City should contrive to lose the midweek
West Riding Cup game at Huddersfield by five goals to one, with
'Leeds Roader' describing them as "a set of schoolboys rather
than a Second Division team" in the Mercury. They fielded close
to a first choice eleven and were sadly disappointing.
They played well when they visited Clapton Orient in the League
on 16 September, with McLeod restored to centre-forward and Gillespie
at inside-left. Unfortunately they lost again, the 2-1 reverse
leaving them close to the foot of the table.
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To compound their problems, the club's perennial financial difficulties
were again making news. The 13 September edition of the Yorkshire
Evening Post carried this report, under the headline, "Leeds City's
"A meeting of the shareholders is to be held in the Salem Hall,
Hunslet, on Thursday, September 14th, and at that meeting Mr Alf
Masser, one of the newly elected directors of the club, will outline
a scheme which has the approval of the whole of the club's directorate.
It aims at the liquidation of the whole of the club's indebtedness,
which means that, roughly, a sum of nearly £16,000 will have to
"Mr Masser, in outlining the scheme today, points out that when
the company was formed in 1905, nearly the whole of the capital,
£4,500, was expended upon the equipment of the ground. It is now
proposed that the ground ... shall become the absolute possession
of the company, and that it shall serve as security for those
subscribers who now come forward with new capital and take up
debentures. If the money is forthcoming the ground will be acquired
as a freehold property.
"To acquire the ground at the present moment, and to relieve
the club from all debt ... would involve the raising of £20,000.
Mr Norris Hepworth, the chairman
of the club, is the largest creditor, and he has made an offer
that if the sum of £16,000 can be raised by subscription for debentures
- of which he himself will take up £3,000 worth, leaving £13,000
to be subscribed by the public - he will undertake to discharge
all the liabilities of the club up to the end of August last.
"The only question that arises now is whether the £13,000 can
be found. Mr Masser is hopeful that it can ... If it is not raised,
the only possible alternative will be the winding up of the company,
for it is impossible to continue the club with that incubus in
the shape of an £8,000 bank overdraft, which swallows a matter
of between £600 and £700 a year in interest."
Times were serious with a genuine chance of the club being forced
into bankruptcy. There had been little hint that their performances
on the pitch could raise the gloom pervading Elland Road, but
a first win, at home to Bristol City on September 23, brought
Fred Croot ("The fleet, though sometimes erratic left winger"
according to the Yorkshire Post) had recovered from injury and
returned to the side, with Enright switching inside and Gillespie
Bristol had the best of the early moments, with goalkeeper Murphy
forced into several good saves, but it was the hosts who took
the lead after 14 minutes. Hugh Roberts threatened strongly down
the right flank before sending the ball across to the left where
Croot was on hand to fire home.
The visitors equalised within ten minutes and had several good
chances to take the lead
before the break, but passed them all up, including what Flaneur
described in the Leeds Mercury as "the chance of a season". Both
Affleck and Cubberley had the opportunity to clear, but each miskicked,
leaving Bristol centre-forward Butler in position at the edge
of the area with only the goalkeeper to beat. Murphy raced from
goal to narrow the angle and managed to save a poorly struck effort.
The teams were level at the interval, but barely two minutes
had gone after the restart when Leeds took the lead again, Enright
firing home after Bristol keeper Anderson could only parry a shot
The home eleven had the best of matters from then on, but it
was close to time before they wrapped up the points when McLeod
punished an error by full-back Fagan to make the score 3-1.
It was a heartening win, and the Yorkshire Post offered fulsome
praise: "Throughout, the home men played a good level game, a
dogged determination characterising their work ... The usual fault
of the forwards of not shooting often enough was almost absent.
They shot hard and often, and Enright's work at times was thrilling
in its fearlessness. Roberts also played a fine go ahead game,
but was somewhat neglected. McLeod was not quite up to his usual
standard as an opportunist, but Mulholland and Croot fulfilled
their respective roles with credit."
Flaneur was just as impressed. "I have not previously seen Leeds
City this season, and I am thus not best qualified to judge of
their capabilities, but it seems to me that a side that could
adapt themselves so well to unfavourable conditions, that could
seize opportunities so smartly, and that could both hustle and
stay the pace so admirably, should not be fighting in the closing
stages of the campaign for existence in the Second Division of
the League. Leeds City may not be potential champions of their
class, but they will assuredly gain many clever victories, and
not even the strongest of the Second Division teams will visit
Elland Road with any sense of security.
"Even the most carping critic could find very little fault with
the team that so smartly defeated a side with aspirations to return
to the ranks from which they were thrust at the end of last season,
and the victory created a great amount of enthusiasm among a crowd
that probably exceeded ten thousand. Such an attendance ... is
a testimony to the hold the Association game has obtained on the
public of Leeds, and it is obvious that, if the day of First Division
football should dawn in the city within the next few years, the
necessary support at the turnstiles will be forthcoming."
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A week later City maintained their form in an exciting tussle
at Birmingham. In the first half they twice took the lead, though
the Midlanders came back to equalise on each occasion with centre-forward
Hall getting both goals. The Peacocks should have been ahead at
the break, but Croot fluffed a penalty. Hall scored twice more
in the second half before Croot managed a late consolation in
a 4-3 defeat.
City beat local rivals Huddersfield 2-0 on 7 October, their task
made easier when Terriers inside-right Howie fractured his cheek
as he tried to beat George Affleck in a heading duel.
McLeod opened the scoring after 23 minutes with his fifth goal
of the season. He dispossessed left-back Dinnie near the halfway
line, went on a run through the Town rearguard and shot hard for
goal. The advancing keeper got his hands to the shot, but saw
the ball bounce down and on into the goal. Moments later McLeod
broke away again only to see his shot strike the foot of a post.
Before half time both Mulholland and Morris had found the Huddersfield
crossbar with decent attempts.
Enright added the second goal after the break with City now well
on top of tiring opponents and worthy of their 2-0 win.
The Peacocks could not build on the victory and lost 3-0 at Blackpool
the following week in "probably their poorest display of the season"
according to the Yorkshire Post, which added, "Leeds City were
a spiritless and thoroughly disappointing force; a side which
betrayed such a lack of enthusiasm as they did is not one to inspire
any confidence ... A general lassitude and inability to do the
right thing seemed to pervade the whole side. They can, as we
know, play much better football than they did on Saturday, but
it has been noted before that they have not apparently the heart
to play an uphill game."
Tony Hogg had a nightmare in goal in his second game after being
called up for the injured Murphy and was to be consigned to the
reserves until April as a consequence. After 20 minutes he stooped
to field an easy shot from Quinn and was mortified as the ball
kicked up off the turf and bounced over his shoulder for the opening
goal. Just before half time he committed another howler, running
out to claim a long range effort from Nesbit. It looked easy enough
to gather the ball, but inexplicably Hogg elected to punch clear
and missed by a mile, the shot going on to enter the net.
The two soft goals were demoralising for the Leeds men, but they
made little effort to get back into contention. It was a sad indictment
of the team's deplorable lack of spirit.
Happily, City's form at Elland Road was better than on their
travels and they beat Glossop 2-1 a week later, though the game
was not a good one, Gauntlet in the Mercury describing it as "just
one of those third rate Second Division scrambles which are a
weariness and a burden and a bore. Leeds City, a poor team, beat
Glossop, who are slightly worse, and that is all there is to say
The pattern of results continued with a single goal reverse at
Hull preceding the 3-2 defeat of Barnsley
at Elland Road. Flaneur in the Mercury: "There was more than a
suspicion of panic in the last few minutes when Barnsley threatened
to draw level, but on the whole the home team played a really
good game ... One is bound to say that Leeds City were well up
to Second Division class, and were exceptionally smart in raising
openings in front of goal."
City could be excused their anxiety - with eight minutes remaining
they were 3-0 ahead. Then Barnsley pulled two back three minutes
to send a shudder of dread through the Leeds ranks. Lillycrop
crashed a shot against the Peacocks' bar in the closing seconds,
but the home side held out to record their fourth successive home
victory. The points edged City up to 14th in the table, their
highest position thus far.
The team slumped badly thereafter; following a 1-1 draw at Bradford
Park Avenue on 11 November, City suffered five straight defeats.
Three of those reverses came at Elland Road, where they had previously
not lost since January 7.
The unbeaten home run was ended when Fulham won 2-0 on 18 November.
A week later the Peacocks were leading 2-1 at Derby County when
Stan Cubberley injured his knee after 20 minutes. His loss was
a significant handicap for a ramshackle defence to cope with and
the Rams turned the game on its head to emerge victors by five
goals to two.
Cubberley would be out of action until March, with Joe Moran
taking his place. The defence did not cope well with the disruption.
City lost the next three games, in the process twice conceding
The 5-0 reverse at Wolverhampton on December 16 left City fourth
from bottom of the table, having conceded forty goals, easily
the worst defensive record in the division.
Worse still was the way that the team's spirit had dissipated
under adversity, showing the side's lack of backbone. The Yorkshire
Post complained that McLeod had "drifted back into slackness and
mediocrity", while Tom Morris was derided for his lack of pace;
it was claimed that "a vein of incompetency ran through the Leeds
team from goalkeeper to centre-forward". The only man who escaped
criticism was the consistently excellent Hugh Roberts, "undoubtedly
the best man in the Leeds team".
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Just as the rearguard was shorn of a stalwart with the injury
to Cubberley, the forward line also sustained the loss of a key
man around this time. Irishman Billy Gillespie departed for Sheffield
United on 22 December. He had figured in just six games all season,
but City could ill afford to lose a player of Gillespie's rare
The Yorkshire Evening Post: "Gates of late at Elland Road have
not been sufficient to pay the ordinary expenses of the club,
and when Sheffield United weighed in with what is stated to be
a bigger fee than has ever before been paid for the
transfer of a Leeds City player, the management felt that the
interests of the club demanded its acceptance. We have reason
to believe that the fee is ... £400 and if that be so the acceptance
of Sheffield United's cheque will go some way towards tiding over
Leeds United's financial embarrassments."
Gillespie never achieved his full potential at Elland Road, scoring
just 10 goals in 24 appearances for City. He went on to find stardom
in a 21-year career with Sheffield United, playing 575 first team
games for the Blades and earning an FA Cup-winners medal in 1925.
He won 25 caps for Ireland and his 12 goals set a national record
that stood until David Healy broke it almost 80 years later. According
to Martin Jarred and Malcolm Macdonald, "His thinning hair belied
his speed and skill, which marked him out as one of the outstanding
inside-forwards of his generation."
Two goals from Joe Enright brought a welcome 2-1 win against
Leicester Fosse on 23 December, with amateur goalkeeper Cecil
G Reinhardt retaining his position in goal after a promising debut
in the 5-0 defeat at Wolves on the 16th. Reinhardt, a German by
ancestry, who later changed his surname to Goodwin, was studying
to be a doctor at Leeds University. He was delighted to be given
a chance to stake a regular place in the team and had some useful
moments at Wolverhampton.
City faced a festive double header on Christmas Day and Boxing
Day against bottom club Gainsborough Trinity. The first game at
Elland Road saw Leeds without all of their first choice half-backs,
John Harkins and skipper Tom Morris joining Stan Cubberley on
the injured list. Sam Johnson, Chris
Kelly and Joe Moran were their replacements. If City thought
that Trinity would be easy meat, they were sadly mistaken.
The Mercury: "The usual dash and brilliance which has hitherto
characterised the play of Leeds City ... was woefully absent in
their encounter with Gainsborough Trinity ... It was confidently
anticipated that the Trinitarians, who only won their first match
of the season against Stockport on Saturday, would fall easy prey
... Let it be at once said that Gainsborough thoroughly deserved
their point for this goalless draw."
The next day things went even more badly; City lost 2-1 in the
return fixture despite playing well. The result left Leeds deep
in trouble. There were three teams beneath them, but they all
had games in hand on the Peacocks.
||Bottom of Division Two - 26 December 1911
In such sorry circumstances, Nottingham Forest's visit to Elland
Road on 30 December represented a stern challenge, but City rose
to the occasion, emerging with a creditable 3-1 victory. The result
was particularly heartening, considering that City had to play
most of the game with ten men. Debutant
full-back Alex Campbell, formerly of Middlesbrough, suffered
a bad knee injury in the first twenty minutes and limped off,
never to play again for the first team. Moran dropped back to
partner Affleck and Enright played at half-back.
City made light of their handicap and stormed to victory. They
were 2-0 ahead when Campbell went off and never gave Forest a
look in, though the Midlanders got a consolation goal in the closing
Wanderer wrote in the Leeds Mercury: "It is undoubtedly some
time since Leeds City showed such all round excellence ... There
was no holding the front line when they were at full strength.
They went through the Notts defence in fine style, and, even when
Enright was playing half-back, they were always a force to be
reckoned with. There was real method in their work; every man
was in deadly earnest ... The men, in addition to combining smartly
and forming a good plan of campaign, shot well and shot frequently.
There were none of those attempts to dribble the ball into the
The victory saw the Peacocks end the year in 14th position and
indisputably lifted. On the debit side, they were just four points
clear of the re-election positions and there was hard work to
come in the New Year if they were to preserve their Second Division
The endless struggle against playing and financial misfortunes
was proving a heavy burden for Frank Scott-Walford and the players.
They should have been competing with the very best rather than
struggling in the depths of the second tier. It was a mystery
for which there seemed to be neither a satisfactory explanation
nor a happy ending.
Part 2 - Results
and table - printer
Other Football Highlights from 1911/12
- Blackburn Rovers, five times Cup-winners in the 1880's and
90's, won their first League title, beating runners up Everton
by three points. Their total of 49 points is the lowest since
Division One was increased to 20 teams in 1905
- Barnsley played six goalless games in an extraordinary Cup
campaign that saw them reach the final for the second time in
three years, a record for a Second Division club. This time
they emerged victorious, beating West Bromwich 1-0 after extra
time in the Cup final replay
- England represented the United Kingdom again and retained
their Olympic title in Stockholm, again beating Denmark in the
- The laws of the game were changed so that goalkeepers could
only handle the ball in their penalty area. The change was prompted
by a match in 1910, when both the Third Lanark and Motherwell
goalkeepers took advantage of being able to handle the ball
anywhere on the pitch to both score a goal
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