Part 1 - Results
and table - printer
When the Leeds City directors sought a new secretary-manager
in May 1912, the man they singled out was up and coming Northampton
Town manager Herbert Chapman.
They hoped desperately that the appointment would spark a revival
in City's fortunes. A run of four home defeats in December 1912
took the shine off what had been a reasonable start to Chapman's
time in charge, but he was laying out his plans to get the season
back on track.
When he first arrived at Elland Road, Chapman had started sorting
the wheat from the chaff. During the summer he supervised the
clear out of a number of players whom he considered not up to
scratch, including Alec Creighton,
Leslie Murphy, Jimmy
Fortune and Tom Mulholland.
The New Year saw the exodus continue as Scunthorpe and Lindsey
United signed both Hugh Roberts
and Tom Morris and then
Stan Cubberley joined Swansea.
The three had been stalwarts of Frank Scott-Walford's team; indeed,
Cubberley had appeared in 181 League and 7 FA Cup matches for
City and only Billy McLeod and Fred Croot had made more appearances
for the club, though George Affleck would later inch past Cubberley's
Hugh Roberts was the star of the 1911/12
campaign but had been lacklustre and pedestrian this time
around, while Tom Morris had not had a look in all season.
In the closing weeks of 1912 Chapman bolstered his attack by
signing Jimmy Speirs, Simpson Bainbridge and Arthur Price; in
January he added 17-goal Shildon winger George
Fenwick. He hoped the new men would inspire a change of fortune.
1913 kicked off with a trip to Blackpool for a New Year's Day
encounter, with City bidding to end a run of six games without
a win. The last victory had come at the end of November, away
to Nottingham Forest. Tom Broughton,
a right-half signed from Grangetown in October, made his first
team debut at Blackpool, partnering Evelyn
Lintott and Mick Foley in the half-back line. Irish
international Billy Scott continued in goal, behind full-backs
George Law and George Affleck, who was playing just his second
game of the season. Bainbridge, Price, Billy McLeod, Speirs and
Fred Croot formed the forward line. City put an end to their losing
streak with a sterling 3-0 victory.
The Leeds Mercury: "Leeds exhibited much superior tactics ...
The attack was characterised by plenty of vim, the whole of the
forwards showing plenty of dash and a perfect understanding, which
made them well nigh irresistible. Robertson,
McLeod and Speirs were frequently in the picture, and the wing
men showed a rare turn of speed, which was very useful at times."
After eleven minutes City took the lead through Croot. It was
the only goal of a first period dominated by the Citizens. Blackpool
reshuffled their attack and were much livelier after the break.
Despite a number of opportunities, however, they could not break
down a resolute Leeds defence. Croot, the most dangerous forward
on the field, set City off again, igniting a movement which ended
with McLeod testing the keeper from close range.
Shortly afterwards, City capitalised on a concerted assault on
the Blackpool area when Bainbridge grabbed a second goal after
an untidy tangle in the Seasiders' penalty area. With ten minutes
remaining, McLeod made
it three from Croot's cross. It was the most emphatic of victories.
Suitably invigorated, the Peacocks sought another victory at
Barnsley but were defeated 2-0 in a game ruined by wind and rain.
The South Yorkshire team scored from a corner just before half
time and wrapped up the points in the closing minutes.
back to top
Nevertheless, JRB was remarkably upbeat with his report for the
Mercury, "There was not a real weak man on the field, although
Broughton hardly played with the dash that is required of a right-half.
Speirs did many smart things, and, together with McLeod and Croot,
combined together in some of the nice football we witnessed. Bainbridge
as usual put in many neat centres."
City hoped to take advantage of a home draw in the FA Cup first
round against Burnley on January 11, but the match was abandoned
in the second half after a blizzard, with the ground already under
several inches of snow. The Lancastrians were 4-2 ahead at the
time, chiefly down to the fact that they had enjoyed the considerable
advantage of the conditions in the first period. McLeod and Foley
had got City's goals.
The Peacocks had hinted strongly that they might well get back
on terms after the change of ends, but just five minutes of the
second half had gone when the referee abandoned the game. With
the pitch markings obscured by snow, he had been unable to tell
whether Bainbridge had been inside the Burnley penalty area when
he was upended.
The restaged match on Wednesday was "one of the finest and most
exciting games ever seen at Elland Road" according to Yorkist,
writing in the Mercury. "Burnley beat Leeds City in the English
Cup first round tie yesterday by three goals to two, and while
Burnley are to be congratulated on their success, Leeds City are
also to be congratulated ... and certainly did not deserve to
be beaten. They gave one of the best displays in the history of
The conditions on the day were excellent with a clear, sunny
outlook, but the snow of the previous few days had left their
mark, with the playing surface in a poor state. The surface snow
had been cleared away but the ground underneath had been rendered
a mudbath with the midfield "practically a swamp in which the
ball continually stuck".
Leeds restored Tony Hogg in goal for Irish international Billy
Scott and had the best of the opening exchanges, taking the lead
in the sixth minute. The goal was a spectacular one and came from
a swift breakaway after Burnley had won a free kick on the edge
of the Leeds box. Edwin Mosscrop took it and launched the ball
towards goal, but Allan headed away and then sent the ball out
to Bainbridge on the right wing. The winger spotted McLeod making
ground at halfway and instantly fed on to him. He beat two Burnley
backs to the ball and ran on between them. As goalkeeper Jerry
Dawson came out to confront him, McLeod fired low into the net
to register a magnificent goal and send the home crowd wild with
With fifteen minutes gone, Burnley had an opportunity to equalise.
From a corner, outside-right Mosscrop was left with a gaping goal
to aim at. He sent the ball rolling towards the line only for
Affleck to race
back and hoof clear. Burnley claimed it had crossed the goal line,
but the referee was adamant in rejecting their claims.
With City 1-0 up, Fred Croot panicked when presented with an
easy opportunity to add a second and blundered badly, firing straight
into the keeper's hands. Had he scored, the game might have been
over as a contest.
Speirs was guilty of a similar lack of composure when he inexplicably
nudged Burnley centre-forward Bert Freeman off the ball in the
City penalty area after 33 minutes. The referee had little hesitation
in awarding a penalty and Burnley skipper Tom Boyle made no mistake
from the spot, sending the teams in at the break with the scores
Yorkist: "The pace had been gruelling in the first half, and
for twenty minutes after the restart play was comparatively quiet.
From that point to the end, however, there was a succession of
thrilling incidents. Hodgson looked a certain scorer for Burnley
when he got close in on Hogg. The custodian stopped a hard drive,
however, but he failed to hold the ball, which rolled a few yards
in front of him. Hogg and Hodgson raced for the ball, and the
custodian got to it first and cleared.
"Burnley gained the upper hand in the last twenty minutes. Lindley
beat Hogg from close range, but he was clearly offside, and the
goal was disallowed. Then, fifteen minutes from time, Burnley
took the lead. Affleck had fouled Lindley just outside the penalty
area. Bamford took the kick and lifted the ball into goal for
Lindley to head through."
With eight minutes remaining and Burnley 2-1 ahead, City right-back
Law attempted to clear the ball, only to see it skew off his foot
and fall to Freeman. The Burnley forward seized the opportunity,
set off on a run towards goal and fired home left footed to give
Burnley a two goal advantage.
"Many of the spectators began to leave the field, but the Leeds
City players never lost heart. They set up a strong attack, and
were rewarded with a second goal six minutes from time, Foley
scoring with a fine shot after Allan had hit the crossbar. Intense
excitement reigned in the closing minutes, as Leeds City made
desperate efforts to draw level. They almost succeeded, but luck
was against them.
"Though beaten, Leeds City enhanced their reputation, and had
fortune been a little more kind, they would now be in the second
round. They played quite as good football as Burnley, and in fact
were the better team up to those last twenty minutes. The men
on the side who distinguished themselves most were Lintott and
Foley. These two half-backs fairly excelled themselves all through
the piece, their tackling and placing being excellent. Allan also
did a lot of good work till he went lame in the second half.
back to top
"Of the forwards, Speirs, McLeod and Bainbridge were in fine
form, but Robertson and Croot were both below par. Affleck was
a sound defender all the way through. Law played well in the first
half, but fell away towards the finish. Hogg made several capital
saves, and was in no way to blame for any of the three goals scored
After such a titanic clash, it would have been understandable
if the following week had brought an anti climax, but not a bit
of it. City beat Bradford Park Avenue 2-0 and looked impressive
in doing so. The game was played out on a quagmire, worsened by
a thick layer of sand. The contest was goalless at the break,
but City played much more effectively in the second half and around
midway Foley scored from a Bainbridge corner. Within a minute
Speirs broke clear on his own to add a
second with a long low drive from the right, his first goal for
City. He came close to scoring again in the closing stages. The
match marked the final appearance in a City shirt for Stan Cubberley,
now off to Swansea.
City were unlucky not to win again the following week at Wolves.
JRB in the Leeds Mercury: "Nothing but sheer hard luck prevented
Leeds City from emerging triumphant from a good, if not brilliant,
game ... In the first place, there was a clear case of a penalty
when McLeod was brought down just before the interval - but the
referee declined to allow it - and in the second place, when Foley
had the misfortune to put through his own goal while endeavouring
to stop the ball preparatory to clearing.
"On the day's play there was little to choose between the teams,
but the City thoroughly deserved their lead at the interval. Their
display, both in defence and attack, was better than that of the
Wanderers, and the goal scored by Bainbridge was a merited reward
to one of the many attacks made by the City."
City had the weekend of 1 February off as it was the FA Cup second
round, and they plugged the gap with a friendly against Northampton,
giving the Elland Road fans the chance to see the much admired
Fanny Walden. Their attention
was also on City's new signing, left winger George Fenwick.
Fenwick scored a couple of goals as Leeds won easily. He retained
his position a week later when the Citizens entertained Leicester
Fosse and hit peak form to thrash the Midlanders 5-1. The victory
took them five places up the table to 9th, but it was the manner
of the performance as much as the result that warmed Yorkshire
The Yorkshire Post: "Changes in the City team have been numerous
throughout this season, and Mr Chapman, the manager, is slowly
but surely evolving a set of players from whom much may be expected
in the future. His latest acquisition is a youth named Fenwick,
from Shildon, and although his methods are rather crude at present,
he evidently possesses talent capable of being turned to good
account under skilful training. Speirs' display was the outstanding
feature of the match, as in addition to scoring a goal direct,
his work paved the way for two other successful efforts. McLeod's
goal was the culmination of a fine piece of individualism, which
elicited generous acknowledgement from the crowd."
It was twenty minutes before there was a goal, though Speirs
had gone close on two occasions. Price opened the scoring easily
after being found by Speirs, and from that point on, Leicester
Fosse were simply incapable of denying City. Five minutes later
the Peacocks consolidated their position when Speirs added a second.
There was no further score before the break, but it was 3-0 soon
afterwards, Fenwick scoring after Speirs' shot was blocked. Price
quickly netted his second, tenaciously working his way through
the Fosse defence before firing home.
McLeod added a fifth with the best effort of the day. He secured
possession at halfway and dribbled smartly up the middle despite
the attentions of opposing defenders. He sidefooted the ball home
from close range after deceiving the keeper. Fosse pulled one
goal back from a penalty in the closing seconds but it couldn't
take the shine off a tremendous display.
Just as it seemed that City had got their act together, they
inexplicably lost by six clear goals
at bottom-placed Stockport County.
The local papers claimed that the score did not represent the
run of play. In many ways they were right as City were a single
goal behind at the hour. But then there came an amazing collapse,
with five further goals, the final four in the space of eleven
minutes. County centre-forward Smith claimed four of the scores,
but it was reported that City keeper Hogg and backs Affleck and
Copeland performed great feats in defence. Nevertheless, the thrashing
brought a demotion for Hogg. The Geordie had taken over from Billy
Scott in the FA Cup against Burnley in January, but now gave way
to Scott for the three games that followed.
It was astonishing after such a setback that City could respond
by giving their performance of the season, when table-topping
Preston North End were the visitors at Elland Road on 22 February.
The Lancastrians, the first ever League champions in 1888, when
they had also won the FA Cup, had lost just twice all season,
their first in the second flight, and were odds on favourites
to recover their First Division status. But they were left in
disarray as the Peacocks overwhelmed them, triumphing by five
goals to one.
back to top
JRB in the Mercury: "There was never a doubt as to the ultimate
destination of the points, Leeds City being complete masters of
the proceedings throughout. Right from the commencement of the
game to the finish did the home team display wonderful form. Seldom
have the team, as a whole, played better, and individually the
players did some very clever things, especially Scott, the custodian,
who gave some of his international form; while the headwork of
Lintott was another feature of the game, as also was the goal
headed into the net by Bainbridge."
City were immediately onto the attack - Foley's shot was deflected
narrowly wide of the post by McCall; Robertson was unlucky when
he headed the resultant corner over the bar, and then McLeod had
a goal chalked off for offside. It was not long before the pressure
told, and Leeds deservedly took the lead in the twelfth minute.
Affleck scored from a penalty after Fenwick had been fouled when
in a scoring position. Preston rallied at that point, but were
kept at bay by good work on the part of Copeland and Affleck.
City were not long under the cosh, and scored twice to establish
a 3-0 lead. Preston rallied again and pulled a goal before the
City scored twice more in the second half - 5-1. North End could
have managed a consoloation in the closing stages, but Scott saved
a penalty from Halliwell to complete a marvellous afternoon. Fenwick
had grabbed two goals and Bainbridge and Foley one each after
The result sent shock waves through the division, demonstrating
in the most emphatic of fashions that that City were a match for
anyone on their home turf.
They showed the result was no fluke the following week at second-placed
Burnley. The Turf Moor men took a two goal lead but City refused
to accept defeat. McLeod and Speirs scored in the final 23 minutes
to earn a merited point.
Wanderer in the Mercury: "The first goal was a beauty, for Law,
who was some
considerable distance from goal, dropped the ball out to Fenwick,
the winger headed in to McLeod, and that player popped the leather
into the net with his head. McLeod had a big share in the scoring
of the second goal, for which it seemed almost certain that the
ball would go over the dead line. He nipped in, turned it into
the centre, and Speirs put on the finishing touch."
City built on their revival by beating Hull 1-0, McLeod's winner
coming a minute before the interval after wing to wing interplay
between Speirs and Bainbridge. The game was overshadowed by the
conditions with Hull playing into a first half gale and hailstorm.
JRB in the Mercury: "All the Leeds team played well to a man.
There was little to choose between the forwards, and the defence
was always reliable. Copeland and Affleck kicked with plenty of
strength, and their play was a feature of the game. Scott, who,
by the way, has been placed on the transfer list at his own request,
had few difficult shots, but he cleared in style."
With Scott intent on a move, Tony Hogg was recalled between the
posts for the remaining two months of the campaign. With his return,
City's depressing inconsistency resurfaced; they lost 2-1 on March
15 at Glossop, struggling along in the bottom four. The Citizens
had enough chances to win the game easily but the forwards wasted
all but the one that Billy McLeod scored around the half hour
mark. McLeod snatched two more on Good Friday at Grimsby, but
Leeds lost again, by the odd goal in five.
A brace from Speirs and yet another from McLeod were enough to
see off Clapton Orient the next day, and it was McLeod once more
on Easter Monday at Bury, snatching an equaliser to force a 1-1
draw. A day later and McLeod bagged a hat trick, with Speirs contributing
another goal as City hammered Bury 4-2 in the return at Elland
JRB in the Mercury: "The display given by the City forwards yesterday
was brilliant ... Their combination and passing was a feature
of the game, so also were the characteristic dribbles given by
McLeod, who scored the goal obtained by the City in the first
half. He took the ball from Price, who had received from a rebound
and found the net with a capital shot ... Leeds were undoubtedly
the better team in the second half, and although they scored three
times, twice through McLeod and once through Speirs, they deserved
to score also on two other occasions. Affleck hit the crossbar
with a penalty kick, as also did McLeod when close in, and from
the rebound Speirs hit the upright. Bainbridge also sent in shots
which narrowly missed."
McLeod's impressive goalscoring record had caught the eye of
the England selectors, who came to watch him and Evelyn Lintott
during the game at Bury. Morag Roberts, a member of the International
Selection Committee, had already watched McLeod during the victory
against Hull City on 8 March. In the eventuality, nothing came
of the interest
but it was gratifying nonetheless.
McLeod was in a rich vein of form in front of goal and he scored
in both of the next two games, 3-3 at Lincoln and a single goal
victory at home to Nottingham Forest. That was the ninth consecutive
match in which he had scored and the goal helped City consolidate
their seventh place. It was an extraordinary run in front of goal
and clearly he was in the form of his life. Defenders were well
advised to keep a tight grip on the centre-forward.
City had announced some time previously that the Forest fixture
would serve as a benefit match for McLeod. The occasion attracted
another 20,000 crowd to Elland Road, and in addition to the gate
receipts of £500, he received around £100 from subscriptions and
collections. It was a well deserved reward for a player who had
provided excellent service over the seven years he had spent at
back to top
It was only fitting that he should mark the occasion by scoring
the only goal of the game, slipping the ball home after keeper
Hanna had parried a shot from Robertson. McLeod's performance
wasn't up to his normal standard, the absence of Speirs cited
as a major reason. His presence since Christmas had been a major
factor in the revival in the centre-forward's form.
McLeod didn't make it onto the scoresheet on 12 April, when a
Speirs goal secured a point at Bristol City, but he was only prevented
from doing so by an upright, which kept out a fiery shot.
The two men were both on target again, Speirs bagging a double,
when City hammered Birmingham 4-0 on 19 April to complete an impressive
run of eight straight victories at Elland Road.
The win left City sixth, still in with a shout of a top five
finish, but a 1-0 defeat on the last day at Huddersfield crushed
those hopes. City looked well worth a point and on occasions hinted
at snatching both, with Town keeper Mutch being forced to make
several outstanding saves. The Terriers won the game with a goal
from Armour, scored just before half time.
It was a disappointing conclusion to a campaign which ended with
City ten points short of promotion, though this was their best
placing since their debut season in 1906.
At times, the Peacocks had been well nigh irresistible on their
native soil. Certainly, the top four, Preston, Burnley, Birmingham
and Barnsley, would attest to that, each suffering emphatic defeat
at Elland Road. All the more galling, then, were the four successive
home reverses in December which put at an end any faint chances
In sharp contrast, City's away form was poor, with only three
victories, none of them coming after New Year's Day.
The rearguard remained as erratic as ever, conceding 64 goals.
Of the high profile defenders signed at the start of the season,
it was only the impressive Evelyn Lintott who lived up to his
billing, being ever present and a most reliable performer. Billy
Scott began well but as the season progressed, lost both his form
and his place. The two new full-backs, George Law and Jock
Ferguson, were replaced by Charlie Copeland and George Affleck
after Christmas, although Ferguson instead became a regular choice
Despite the blight of inconsistency, it had been an impressive
campaign. The verve with which the team played and the profile
of the new men had spectators flooding back to Elland Road in
their thousands. The signing of Jimmy Speirs was crucial, a catalyst
for post-Christmas improvement. His arrival brought the best out
of Billy McLeod and the pair struck up a wonderful understanding.
McLeod's total of 27 League goals set a new club record, easily
beating the 17 he himself had recorded in 1908. In the process
he completed a League century for the club, moving his tally on
to 117. The 70 goals that the club hit in the League also established
a new high. The dashing displays of Simpson Bainbridge on the
right flank had greatly enhanced the service to the front men,
while Price, Fenwick and Copeland showed rich potential.
The average home attendance rose from less than 8,000 in 1911/12
to more than 13,000; another financial loss was sustained, but
a corner had been turned and the club was soon to generate a small
profit, a remarkable turnaround. "Chapman ... has done a tremendous
amount of good work for the club; he has gained the confidence
of everybody," wrote the Yorkshire Post.
This was clearly more like it and the Board were convinced that
they had found the right man in Herbert Chapman. He had not achieved
his stated aim of promotion, but had taken the club several massive
strides in the right direction. The club's beleaguered supporters
could finally look forward to a rosy future.
Things would turn out even more positively in the campaign that
Part 1 - Results
and table - printer
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