Part 2 Brink of glory - Results
and table - printer
Herbert Chapman's appointment
as secretary manager of Leeds City in 1912
breathed life into an ailing club. He led their re-election campaign,
then steered them to sixth place in
the Second Division, equalling their best ever finish.
The team struggled for consistency, but showed enough moments
of class to hint that Chapman's promise of promotion was not an
By and large, the manager was content with the first team, but
knew he needed to improve the pool's depth. He commenced the transformation
of his squad by dispensing with the services of long-serving Stan
Cubberley, Tom Morris
and Hugh Roberts (with
nearly 400 League games between them for City), along with Jimmy
Robertson, one of his initial signings. The summer of 1913
saw the departure of several fringe players, including Joe
Moran, Jock Ferguson,
Andy Gibson, Harold
Bridgett, George Fenwick,
Tom Broughton and George
Cunningham. Irishman Joe
Enright followed them out of Elland Road in October.
By the end of September, a number of new men had signed up, mainly
from junior clubs: Tommy Lamph, Spennymoor, half-back; John
Dunn, Eccles Borough, full-back; Manus Divers, Cambuslang
Rovers, left-back; David Davidson, Third Lanark, centre-forward;
John McDonald, Croy Athletic, outside-right; Webb
Richardson, Barnet and Alston, outside-right; James
Johnson, Bedlington United, inside-right; and Neil
Turner, Petershill, outside-right.
Four other recruits merited special mention.
19-year-old full-back Albert Urwin signed professional forms
for City, rejecting overtures from Sheffield United, Middlesbrough,
Bristol City and Tottenham, all of the First Division. Urwin had
played in the South Bank side that won the West Riding Junior
Cup in 1912 and the Amateur Cup the following year. His signing
was evidence of Chapman's drawing power.
Chapman signed two centre-halves: the rugged Jack Hampson, a
future City captain, renewed his acquaintance with a man who had
managed him at Northampton, while Harry Peart agreed to drop a
division when leaving Bradford City.
The prize capture, though, was left winger Ivan Sharpe, 24. He
won a gold medal with Great Britain at the Olympics in 1912 and
still retained his amateur status. He worked as a professional
football journalist and had played football with local clubs while
working with newspapers in St Albans, Watford, Glossop and Derby.
In 1912 he helped the Rams win the Second Division title with
his wonderful centres to the goalscoring legend, Steve Bloomer.
When Sharpe started working for the Yorkshire Evening News in
the summer he was happy to make himself available for City.
The Chapman revolution was gathering pace and attracting interest.
For the most part, it was Chapman's team playing in Chapman's
way that served City through
the season. Tony Hogg, George Affleck, Mick Foley and Billy McLeod
were links with earlier regimes, but the rest of the side were
Chapman signings. Fred Croot made a handful of appearances, but
he was forced to play second fiddle to Sharpe.
City supporters were optimistic as the campaign kicked off on
6 September 1913 with a home fixture against Glossop. Interest
in the club had soared to such an extent that £2,000-worth of
season tickets had been sold. Attendances had picked up the previous
season, averaging a club record 13,356, and in 1913/14 soared
to almost 17,000.
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Hampson and Sharpe were given debuts at centre-half and outside-left
respectively, but otherwise it was the same eleven that had gone
largely unchanged through the spring: Hogg continued to be preferred
to the experienced Billy Scott,
while Charlie Copeland and Affleck renewed their full-back partnership.
George Law was omitted to allow skipper Evelyn
Lintott to shift to right-half with Irishman Foley completing
the middle trio. The Yorkshire Post promised that, "If Hampson
realises expectations there should be the best half-back line
the City have had for some years, for Foley made great strides
towards the end of last season." Among the forwards, Croot made
way for Sharpe, but Simpson Bainbridge, Arthur Price, McLeod and
Jimmy Speirs remained in situ.
City fulfilled all expectations against Glossop with a 3-0 victory,
thanks to goals from Speirs and McLeod (2), though the Post counselled
that "it would be folly to build up hopes of promotion upon that
The home men dominated the first half, though they had to be
content with a single goal from Speirs, nodded home from a smart
lob from Sharpe. There should have been more, with Price missing
badly and then hitting an upright, but Glossop enjoyed prolonged
periods of pressure after the interval and came close to equalising.
City made the points secure, though, with two goals in five minutes
Hampson was handicapped from early on with blood pouring out
of an eye cut in a clash with Glossop's Moore. The Post complained:
"Much was hoped for from the introduction of Hampson, ... but,
as things were, the half-back play of the team was sadly disappointing
... It is still matter for doubt whether he has qualifications
which justify his displacement of Lintott ... The latter, though
always preferred at left-half in his Bradford City days, has played
so long in the centre as to have become unfitted for any other
position, and on Saturday he was so completely out of his element
as to become ineffective ... Criticism of the front line in general
may be silenced by the flashes of brilliance which they have on
occasion offered, and by the evidence of distinctive merit in
the performance given by the amateur international Ivan Sharpe.
With Sharpe as the left wing partner to Speirs, supporters of
the club may hope that the City's attack will be brought up to
a standard of excellence, which it has never previously attained."
City could not capitalise on that start and were defeated at
Stockport. They went ahead when Price headed home a beautiful
centre from Sharpe, but the Derbyshire men scored twice in the
last twenty minutes to secure the points.
The Peacocks' form fluctuated erratically.
An ankle injury for Lintott gave Law the chance to come back
at right-half and City thrashed undefeated Bradford Park Avenue
5-1 on September 20 with goals from Speirs, McLeod, Bainbridge
(2) and Price. JRB enthused in the Leeds Mercury that "I have
witnessed many games at Elland Road, but I do not think I have
seen a better League game than that of Saturday." A week later,
the same eleven were hammered 4-0 by Notts County.
It was generally reckoned that the score flattered Notts, as
Yorkist reported in the Mercury. "It must not be imagined they
had a runaway victory. They scored twice in each half of the game,
but it was only in the last fifteen minutes of each half that
they got their goals, and there is not the least doubt that it
was the manner in which they got their first goal that paved the
way to their success.
"There was nothing to choose between the teams till the fateful
goal came after half an hour's play. Bassett, the County outside-right,
was in possession of the ball when he was bowled over by Hampson
just inches inside the penalty area. It was a perfectly fair charge,
but the referee thought otherwise, and, to the consternation of
the Leeds players and their coterie of followers, he awarded a
penalty, and Richards scored with a shot which hit the crossbar
before entering the net.
"The referee was Mr J Pearson of Dudley, and it is no exaggeration
to say that not one referee in twenty would have taken the view
he did. All the pressmen ... were astonished at the decision of
the referee in awarding a penalty ... Apart from this instance,
Mr Pearson did not please by his handling of the game, as several
of his callings were rather curious.
"The Leeds City players also strongly appealed against the third
goal scored by Flint twelve minutes from time, on the ground that
the County inside-right was offside, and the referee consulted
first one linesman and then the other before confirming his decision.
In fairness to Mr Pearson, however, it should be said that from
the press seats this seemed a perfectly fair goal."
City won three of the four games played in October. The other
brought an inexplicable 2-1 defeat at home to Hull on the 18th
of the month, but a week later they bounced back. The Evening
Post: "No result was so totally unexpected as that in which Leeds
City inflicted upon Barnsley their first defeat of the season
... What a baffling business is the form of the Leeds City team.
One week they win at Wolverhampton, the next week they slipped
up at home before a very weak Hull City team, only to recover
themselves again and startle the football world by running away
with Barnsley to the extent of 4-1.
"Speirs, the City captain, was the best man on the field, and
at a time when there is an agitation for the reinstatement of
Lintott at centre-half, it is singular to have to report that
the next best contributor to Leeds City's success was Hampson,
who seldom went for the ball without securing it."
The Yorkshire Post remarked on the part played by Speirs in guiding
his men to victory: "A change of tactics, organised by Speirs,
enabled Leeds City in the end to win hands down. The winners played
two distinct styles of football in the course of the game. They
played Barnsley at their own game in the first half, and scored
their first goal by means of long swinging passes from wing to
wing, but it was in the deftness with which Speirs, McLeod and
Price practised the short passing game that they excelled.
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"Speirs was the best on the field. It is no more than his due
to say that it was his individual cleverness,
and genuine leadership, which brought triumph to his side."
By the beginning of November, City had already lost three times,
but had won enough matches to be fifth. The latest victory, on
November 1, came against leaders Bury. First half goals by Price
and Speirs brought a deserved half time lead. Leeds had to fight
hard to preserve their advantage after Peake pulled a goal back
midway through the second half, but they did so safely enough.
A goal from debutant Neil Turner gave City the lead away to Huddersfield
a week later, but Town equalised at the start of the second half
and the game finished in a draw.
The Leeds Mercury reported, "With Ivan Sharpe, Bainbridge and
Copeland out of the team, it would have been no surprise if Leeds
City had suffered defeat at Leeds Road ... Had either side won,
the losers would have been thoroughly justified in lodging a protest,
for the game was finished in darkness, and the surprising thing
is that it was played to a finish. A mistake was made to begin
with in fixing the time of starting for three o'clock, and to
make matters worse, heavy rain and a thick mist prevailed practically
all the afternoon. Even when Mr Pearson started the game several
minutes before three, it looked odds against full time being played.
In the last quarter of an hour it was impossible to see the ball
or distinguish players from the stand, and the evening paper reporters
had to light matches to get their copy finished."
McLeod's late header was enough to beat Lincoln City at Elland
Road on November 15 and Leeds were unlucky to return from a trip
to Blackpool a week later with only a 2-2 draw.
The Seasiders opened the scoring from a controversial penalty.
The Leeds Mercury: "Why was the penalty kick given against Leeds
City? Everyone was asking the question ... The referee's explanation
is, I believe, that Affleck butted, or attempted to butt, a man
in the back, but what grounds he had for coming to this decision
appears to be known to himself alone. Of course, the referee is
in a better position to see things than the spectators, but not
one solitary supporter of the Blackpool team did I hear express
the opinion that there had been any infringement."
City were twice behind and had to show fighting spirit to earn
the draw, the goals from Hampson and Croot coming from spectacular
Billy McLeod enhanced his reputation with a spectacular
display against lowly Nottingham Forest on 29 November. McLeod
struck four times as City ran riot, achieving a record 8-0 victory
that left them in third place.
The following week, the Peacocks faced a difficult trip to Woolwich
Arsenal. The Gunners had been relegated from the First Division
at the end of the previous season and were intent on an immediate
return. They were a couple of places below City in the table,
though still trying to recover from a 6-1 mauling at Fulham on
The Arsenal had just relocated to Highbury Stadium and it was
a first visit to the scene for Herbert Chapman. Stephen
Studd: "When Leeds City arrived for their meeting with the Gunners
on 6 December 1913, the Highbury ground was still only half finished,
and a wooden stand on the east side, designed for 9,000 spectators,
was still being built. Chapman was particularly struck by the
fact that the ground was just across the road from Gillespie Road
Underground station, and could thus be reached easily from most
parts of London. This observation was to bear fruit in later years."
City understandably stuck by the eleven that did so well against
Forest, persisting with their experiment of using Arthur Price
and Jimmy Speirs in unaccustomed positions.
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The game, watched by almost 20,000 spectators, kicked off at
2.30 and there was a suspicion that the inclement weather might
lead to play being concluded in darkness.
Speirs won the toss and City began the game the stronger. They
went about their work with a will and forced four corners in the
first ten minutes. They couldn't convert any of them but certainly
caused Arsenal keeper Lievesley some moments of high anxiety.
Shortly afterwards, though, the home men had a goal disallowed.
Referee J E Hall of Birmingham had whistled for a foul against
the Peacocks, just as Arsenal inside-right Hardinge hammered the
ball past Tony Hogg. The referee, amidst a "chorus of hooting",
disallowed the goal and ordered a free kick for a foul by City
earlier in the movement. Hardinge wasted the opportunity, firing
the ball wildly over the bar.
Both teams had opportunities, though neither could open the scoring.
Bainbridge had aggravated a recent injury and was a limping passenger
as the game reached its interval.
The Arsenal wingers, Rutherford and Lewis, troubled the City
defence in the second half and the decisive moment came after
one raid by the latter. Referee Hall decided that Charlie Copeland
had deliberately tripped the winger and awarded a penalty, though
the decision was hotly disputed by the City players. When the
protests had subsided, full-back Benson hammered the spot kick
past Hogg, though the keeper managed to get his hand to the effort.
The goal drove the home side on to greater efforts and they pressed
City hotly after that, though they could not add to their total.
Leeds rallied toward the end of the match without hinting at an
Cockney in the Leeds Mercury wrote, "On the general run of play
they had been quite the equal of their opponents in points of
skill, and a goalless draw would have much better represented
"It was a hard game from beginning to end, and one of the best
features of the play was the remarkable pace that was maintained.
The forwards, it is true, failed to make the most of many
fine opportunities that were given them in front of goal. That
was their only fault, however, and it is seldom that such fine,
open attacking is so unsuccessful. There was no great attempt
to combine by either line of forwards ... Nothing tangible happened
simply because the play of the full-backs was of such a vigorous
character that an incoming forward was bundled off the ball without
ceremony, and what they failed to accomplish, the goalkeepers,
Lievesley and Hogg, did in a convincing manner.
"One of the best efforts in the first half came from the visitors,
and it was Bainbridge who made the running. He directed his centre
admirably, and Price fired in a powerful shot that was magnificently
saved by Lievesley. That was the nearest approach to scoring accomplished
by the City, although they made many other fine attempts.
"The City showed better form than the Arsenal, but the play of
the home inside-forwards was certainly more convincing than the
Leeds trio, of which Speirs was the best. McLeod was always a
great worker, but he was closely shadowed by Sands, who was none
too particular in which way he stopped the City's pivot.
"If we were to judge the teams by the form which they showed
on Saturday, it is easy to fancy either for a high place in the
League table, and the promotion prospects seem decidedly promising."
The Speirs-Price experiment was proclaimed a failure; before
the home game with Grimsby, the Mercury reported, "The City directors
have deemed it expedient to rearrange the forward line. Speirs
goes from inside-right to his old place at inside-left as partner
to Ivan Sharpe, and this should be an improvement. It seems a
pity that the Speirs-Sharpe partnership was ever disturbed." John
Johnson was given his debut in place of the injured Bainbridge,
and it was reported that he played well.
The numbers attending were impacted adversely by an early start
and a tram service restricted by a strike by Leeds municipal employees,
though there was still a goodly crowd. City played into a strong
wind but created a hatful of opportunities, all of which went
to waste. Quin gave Grimsby a half time lead with a farcical goal.
Hogg stopped a shot from Gregson, but when Affleck tried to hammer
the ball clear it struck Quin in the chest and rebounded into
City's paucity owed something to the lengthy absence of Jack
Hampson, who went off with a leg injury. When he returned he had
still not fully recovered.
City adapted their tactics for the second period and found fresh
vigour. Within twelve minutes of the restart McLeod equalised
after receiving a well judged pass from Hampson. A minute later
the centre-half gave them the lead and McLeod added his second
after a further sixty seconds. It was remarkable that even when
so hampered, Hampson was involved in the game's vital moments.
There was an understandable lull for a while thereafter with
Hampson going to outside-right because of his injury. Johnson
moved to inside-left and Speirs filled in at centre-half. Before
the end Price ran in a fourth
goal to complete an emphatic victory.
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It was already absolutely clear that Herbert Chapman had found
a rare combination in Jimmy Speirs and Ivan Sharpe. They were
two individual gems who as a pairing made the left flank a source
of real quality. Countless goals had stemmed from the centres
of Sharpe and the intelligent scheming of Speirs.
Their quality, however, put the displays of the other wing into
stark relief. 18-year-old Simpson Bainbridge was the baby of the
side, and though he possessed an abundance of skill and talent,
his contributions were constrained by his inexperience, a lack
of application leading to inconsistency. His performances veered
wildly from the brilliant to the mundane, often in the space of
a single 90 minutes. It was a cause for some dissatisfaction and
his inside-forward partner, Arthur Price, had neither the guile
nor the craft to coax the best out of the wide man.
As the Yorkshire Post reported in October, "In Speirs and Ivan
Sharpe Leeds have the best left wing pair they have ever possessed;
on the right wing Price and Bainbridge are not developing as fully
as their earlier promise led one to expect. It is easy, of course,
to point out weaknesses; the means of remedying them is quite
another matter. Money will have to be laid down but with the great
possibilities before League football in Leeds, it may with confidence
be stated that such money well spent will prove a good investment."
One option available to Herbert Chapman was to switch Sharpe
to the right wing and draft Fred Croot in on the left, but even
though the amateur could play on the right, he was never as comfortable,
productive or incisive as he was in his customary berth.
It was a real conundrum for the manager.
By the time of the following game, away to Birmingham on December
20, Chapman had an alternative at his disposal. City, while still
suffering financial difficulties, had regular money coming in
via healthy takings at the turnstiles and Chapman persuaded receiver
Tom Coombs to free up some funds. £1,000 was found for the
signature of the 23-year-old Scottish inside-right, John Jackson,
from Clyde. The Leeds Mercury described Jackson as "a player who
was in considerable demand recently, several First League clubs
being anxious to induce him to put his name to a document on their
Jackson went straight into the team, starting at inside-right
with Price outside him at Birmingham, while Evelyn Lintott was
recalled at centre-half to deputise for Hampson.
According to the Mercury, Jackson "was not an overpowering success,
but that was largely due to the fact ... that he suffered from
being insufficiently fed. Very few openings were made for him,
in fact, and he did not get many chances of shining. Neither did
he show conspicuous ability in making his own openings; but then
he was new to the side, and too much cannot be expected from a
man in a strange environment. Jackson did some smart things towards
the close, and he showed that he can manipulate the ball; he must
at least have a good trial before one's mind can be made up as
to whether he is going to be a striking success or not."
The Yorkshire Evening Post reported, "Jackson could not be expected
to settle down to the robustness of English League football all
in a moment, and possibly he suffered on Saturday from a want
of understanding on the part of Price, who was to some extent
at sea in the unaccustomed position as winger. Presuming that
Jackson and Price will be played together for a time as the right
wing pair, there is promise of good results in their association,
and that is the most that one is justified in saying at this juncture.
The other wing, upheld by Speirs and Ivan Sharpe, was undoubtedly
the more effective, and whilst speaking of Speirs as the most
schemer of the match, it will be pleasing to Sharpe's friends
to know that the goal which he scored was the crowning point of
an excellent afternoon's work."
Birmingham's customary inability to convert possession into goals
was clearly in evidence; in contrast, City were clinical. McLeod
opened the scoring from a fine centre by Price and then Sharpe
seized on another Price cross to net the second with the Midlanders
unable to find even a consolation score.
Those goals left City as the division's leading scorers, a status
consolidated on Christmas Day when they beat Fulham 2-1 at Elland
Road. The victory took them up to third, two points behind leaders
Notts County, as Bradford Park Avenue surrendered second spot
after losing 3-2 at home to Woolwich Arsenal. Hull City remained
very much in the mix with a 3-0 victory at Huddersfield.
Elland Road was heaving for the Fulham fixture. The Yorkshire
Post reported, "A big holiday crowd assembled, the stand accommodation
for once being totally inadequate for the number of persons wishing
to avail themselves of the same, and it was computed that close
upon 30,000 spectators must have been present. Many witnessed
the play from difficult positions, while some saw but little of
the game. All present, however, took the situation in good part,
and although the railings gave way in one portion of the field,
the match was carried through without interruption."
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Ivan Sharpe had a field day, his "runs and centres from the left
wing being very telling and gratifying to a large portion of the
crowd". It was one of the winger's crosses that led to the opening
goal after twenty-two minutes. Billy McLeod set off on a run but
when he was blocked off by Fulham defenders he fed Sharpe on the
flank. Speirs missed the chance when the cross came over, but
it reached Price on the other wing and McLeod slipped the ball
into an empty net when the ball was sent back in.
Five minutes before the break City went further ahead. They forced
a series of corners and Hampson scored from one as he tumbled
to the floor.
Just before the half time whistle, City had the opportunity for
a third, after Marshall handled in the area,
but Fulham keeper McDonald showed good anticipation in saving
Sharpe's low spot kick.
Fulham pulled one goal back in the 64th minute when Pearce beat
a number of City defenders before firing from distance past Hogg.
There were no further goals, though in the second half one marvellous
centre by Sharpe, fired in almost from the corner flag, grazed
the bar. City emerged victorious by two goals to one.
Colin reported for the Mercury, "Leeds City fully deserved the
points. They were smarter, and had a far better conception of
combination forward than had Fulham ... McLeod was admirable in
the first half, but later seemed inclined to take matters easy.
Price and Jackson had plenty of opportunity to show their skill
in the second half, and formed a useful, if not brilliant, right
wing. Price got in one or two spirited runs but Jackson requires
to infuse a little more dash into his efforts if his wing is to
be as penetrative as the other. We can, however, expect this when
he is better acquainted with his colleagues and his new surroundings.
The half-back line was, perhaps, the most consistently sound department
of the City team ... Law, Hampson and Foley were especially strong
and reliable, and also judicious in their feeding, the latter
player being one of the outstanding men on the field. Affleck
and Foley so effectively quelled the Fulham right wing that the
full-back had time to materially assist his colleagues. Hogg could
hardly have been expected to save Pearce's shot, but on the whole
he had a quiet time."
City captured second spot on Boxing Day when they won the return
at Fulham's Craven Cottage. McLeod got the only goal, heading
home a splendid Sharpe centre with nineteen minutes remaining.
The onfield battles with the Londoners also gave rise to some
conflict off the pitch.
City could not immediately pay Fulham their cut of the receipts
from the Christmas Day encounter, and the London club retaliated
by withholding money from the return game. The two clubs complained
to the Football League Management Committee which passed judgement
City reported that there had been a tram strike and that as a
consequence many supporters had been delayed. There were no police
to stop them rushing into the ground and as a result the club
had to take admission money on account. The Committee were satisfied
that City had acted in good faith and the club were let off with
a verbal warning for not taking money on the gate. Fulham were
ordered to pay the £20 4s 5d owed to City from the Boxing Day
gate, plus three guineas expenses.
According to the minutes of the meeting, "The Committee desire
it to be known that while approving the course adopted by the
Leeds City Club, under the exceptional circumstances, they do
not approve of money being taken except through the regular and
usual turnstiles and in the usual manner. Any departure from this
course must be regarded with suspicion whether the gate is being
pooled or not, and clubs in their own interests as well as evidence
of honesty ought not to be parties thereto."
||Top of Division Two - 27 December 1913
The day after the Craven Cottage clash, City concluded their
holiday programme with a game at Glossop. The match was spoiled
by the conditions, with the pitch inches deep in mud, and a hailstorm
and stiff wind making for an unpleasant afternoon's work.
The Peacocks fell behind in the first half, but equalised around
the hour mark when Bainbridge accepted a short pass from Speirs
to drive the ball home.
Leeds had been expected to win, but in the end were grateful
to return home with a point following a Glossop performance that
made a mockery of their lowly ranking. City were disappointed
to slip to fourth, but they were only a point shy of Hull City,
Notts County and Woolwich Arsenal and had games in hand on all
As the year ended, it was clear that City had their best chance
yet of securing the promotion that they coveted so jealously.
Part 2 Brink of glory - Results
and table - printer
Other Football Highlights from 1913/14
- Following their first League title in 1912, Blackburn Rovers
regained the Championship, finishing seven points clear of second
placed Aston Villa
- King George V became the first reigning monarch to see the
Cup final, when he presented the trophy at the Crystal Palace
to the winning captain, Burnley's centre half Tommy Boyle. England
international centre forward Freeman scored the only goal of
the game after 58 minutes against Liverpool to secure a first
Cup for Burnley. It was the fourth consecutive year that the
result was 1-0, although the first two of these finals both
- Celtic returned to the fore in Scotland, securing another
League and Cup Double, after three years of seeing the League
title go to Old Firm rivals Rangers
- Ireland won the Home International Championship outright for
the first time. Billy Gillespie
scored against England for the second year running in a 3-0
win. England also lost to Wales and Scotland. This was the first
time England had lost all three home internationals in the same
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