Part 1 - Return of the king
As the 1962-63 season entered September, Leeds United were in
a sorry state.
They had broken their transfer record in the summer to sign former
star John Charles, but the
Welshman had struggled to recover his former glories and the team
was not living up to pre-season hopes.
Manager Don Revie was in
despair at the mediocrity of his team's performances. After a
dismal defeat at home to Bury, he took radical action for the
trip to Swansea on September 8, dropping both Tommy Younger and
Grenville Hair, and making Cliff Mason his third different captain
of the season. What was even more drastic, however, was the way
he chose to remodel his team, drafting in four teenagers - goalkeeper
Gary Sprake, right-back Paul Reaney, left half Norman Hunter and
centre-forward Rodney Johnson,
who deputised for Charles, not fit to play. Sprake had made his
debut the previous season, but the others' only experience was
in the reserves.
Revie had intended to bring United's promising youngsters through
gradually but now he decided enough was enough. Desperate times
for desperate measures and the manager decided that the time was
right to give youth its head.
The experiment could have gone disastrously wrong and left Revie
with egg on his face, but Johnson scored on his debut and Billy
Bremner added a second to earn a startling victory. It was as
much the grit and style of the performance as the result, however,
which was of import, for the new team looked as good as Leeds
United had for an age. In particular, according to the Yorkshire
Post "Bremner and Collins provided the best display of inside
forward work that United have had for years. United moved faster
and played more accurately than at any time this season, or last,
the youngsters bringing a zip the side has badly needed."
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Charles was back for the next match, at Elland Road against a
Chelsea side that was pressing for promotion back to the First
Division after being relegated the previous season. Johnson sustained
a knock at Swansea, and was left out to allow the Welshman to
return. Don Revie consoled him with the words "He did a good job
at Swansea and he has plenty of time ahead of him."
Sprake, Reaney and Hunter retained their places, but it remained
a gamble for Revie to rely on such unproven talent against one
of the most powerful sides in the division. Chelsea had dropped
just three points from their first seven matches.
Under their formidable young manager Tommy Docherty, Chelsea
were on the way to becoming one of the country's best teams in
the mid-60's. Terry Venables, Peter Bonetti, Ron Harris, Eddie
McCreadie, Barry Bridges and Bobby Tambling were among the youthful
stars who had made the Londoners promotion favourites.
However, on the back of the Swansea triumph and with Charles
restored after losing 9lb in a fortnight, Leeds United had new
confidence and looked forward to the game with genuine hope. The
fans shared the optimism
and another crowd in excess of 27,000 flooded in to Elland Road.
Unfortunately, their hopes were severely dented with just four
minutes on the clock. Leeds had started well and a Bobby
Collins goal was ruled out for offside, but when right half
Eric Smith crashed into a tackle on Moore he came off worst and
had to be stretchered off with a broken leg. It was a bad injury
and Smith only ever played once more for United before his transfer
to Morton in June 1964.
In those days, substitutes were still not allowed and playing
a man short set Leeds back on their heels. Billy Bremner was forced
to reinforce the defence, reducing the attack's effectiveness.
However, Chelsea over elaborated in their approach work, playing
into United's hands. The Yorkshire Evening Post's Phil Brown wrote
"Chelsea were too studied and deliberate in their attack, lost
a shooting chance by 'after you' passing and Tambling hit the
defensive wall with a free kick just outside the penalty box.
They were not at all impressive against 10 men and Bridges shot
over the bar from nine yards after Venables had reached him with
a pass through a ruck."
The Stamford Bridge side would have been better advised to stretch
their opponents by pulling them wide and upping the pace of the
game, but they allowed Leeds to get a foothold in a scrappy game,
with Albert Johanneson
a constant outlet on the left. It looked like a stalemate
as the interval drew near but with two minutes to go, Johanneson
opened the scoring with a superb effort. Charles and Noel Peyton
made the opening on the left and the South African evaded three
tacklers with a shimmy and cut in to clip the ball past Bonetti
in the Chelsea goal.
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The Londoners fared no better after the break and struggled to
exert any control. Johanneson netted a second to make the game
safe two minutes from time, seizing on Bremner's free kick into
the area to leave Bonetti helpless again.
The loss of Smith generated the same backs to the wall spirit
which had carried Leeds through at Swansea and the spirit which
flooded through the team brought new hope to Elland Road.
Unfortunately, however, the improvement couldn't be sustained
- the next six League matches brought only three draws and three
defeats. Charles continued to struggle to find any kind of form,
and newspapers hinted at a transfer back to Italy.
Juventus' local rivals Torino came in with a bid, but soon it
became clear that Roma were favourites to secure the Welshman's
signature. They were undeterred by Charles' lack of form, as he
toiled without success against the defences of Second Division
sides. He played one tremendous game, away to Southampton at the
end of September, when he was forced to drop back to centre half
to replace Jack Charlton after the defender was injured, forced
to see out the game on the wing.
Charles was outstanding in his old defensive position, as Norman
Hunter recalls: "Southampton had this striker called George Kirby
and he had already sorted Jack
Charlton out. He was giving all of us a bashing but John came
back into defence and that was the end of Kirby. He was heading
the ball away before Kirby had got off the ground. I was a very
young man at the time and I remember John telling me, 'Slow it
down.' He was telling me what to do and what not to do. It was
a defensive display I'll never forget. I'd have loved to have
played more games with him."
But good as Charles was as a centre half, he had been bought
to score goals, and in that respect was a dismal failure. The
youngsters, driven and shaped by the fiery Bobby Collins, had
shown Don Revie what could be achieved without Charles, and the
Welshman was keen to return to sunnier climes, constantly pestering
the directors to agree to his transfer request. In the end, despite
strenuous denials, the board finally decided to cut its losses
and call an end to a disastrous gamble.
At first the board had been resolute, stating "We are not prepared
to release John Charles. There is no question of the matter being
reconsidered." However, they could not ignore his lack of form
Throughout a drab goalless draw at Derby on 13 October, Charles
was dismally ineffective, exhibiting an almost habitual tendency
to drift far too deep, leaving Leeds with few attacking options.
The Welshman's frustrations were evident after the game when he
commented on his desperation: "I have reached the stage now where
I can't sleep at nights. This is the first time my football has
left me so long and I feel shattered. It was a mistake for me
to come back."
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Eric Stanger: "He has not been the old John Charles they knew
so well and admired. He
returned badly overweight, and though he has since shed several
pounds in training he has lacked much of his old speed and almost
all his deadly finishing. In 10 Second Division games at centre
forward he has scored only three goals, the last being at Huddersfield
as far back as September 1. In my opinion Charles has found the
speed in tackling in Second Division football too quick after
his years on the Continent. There the style of play often deliberately
permits a player to hold the ball in midfield while a retreating
defence positions itself. In the Second Division the tackle is
made as quickly and as strongly as possible. When I have seen
Charles since his return he has often been tackled in possession
and looked a little surprised that the challenge should have been
made so soon."
As it turned out, the whole Charles episode brought a healthy
£17,000 gain as a deal worth £70,000 was agreed with Roma. At
6.59 pm on Friday, 2 November the formalities were completed,
with Charles flying off to Italy to make his debut that same weekend
for his new club against Bologna.
He scored in the game, but he had no dream stay in the Eternal
City. He was back in the Football League within a year, signing
for Cardiff City, who had long coveted his talents.
For Revie and Harry Reynolds the Roma money was hugely welcome,
although the promise of the teenagers meant they could be judicious
in spending it. In the Southampton game when Charles had played
so well, the young Scot Peter Lorimer became Leeds' youngest ever
player at just 15 years, 289 days old, while 19
year old Mike Addy was playing his fourth first team game,
bringing the number of teenagers in the side up to five.
Dundee-born Lorimer was one of the hottest young properties around
after some prolific success in schoolboy football, with 176 goals
in one season for Stobswell School and decent performances in
his games for the Scottish Schoolboys. Revie had beaten almost
30 other top class clubs to Lorimer's signature, driving all through
the night to Scotland to sign him and receiving a speeding ticket
for his trouble.
Addy had more limited credentials, but the fact that Revie could
snap up virtually any youngster he wanted was testimony to the
man's charisma and sure touch with parents. As Syd Owen recalls,
"There was a lot of competition for the boys, so we invited the
parents to come down
to the club as well. We put them up in hotels and let them stay
a short time. We took them to see the people who looked after
the boys in digs. We even had a church minister come down to the
ground every Thursday to walk round the dressing room and ask
the young players if they had any problems."
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In a show of gratitude for the efforts of his young manager,
chairman Harry Reynolds decided to offer visible signs of support,
making some of the Charles money available for Revie to reinforce
It was impressive testimony to the enormous confidence of the
board in their man because during November the club had announced
a record trading loss of £72,259, with the bank overdraft almost
Reynolds had little option, however, as a spate of injuries decimated
Revie's squad, while Tommy Younger returned to Scotland after
announcing his retirement following a recurrence of his old back
£1,500 was paid to St Mirren for young Scottish winger Tommy
Henderson at the beginning of November, while Rotherham's bustling
forward Don Weston signed
for £18,000 on 13 December. A couple of weeks earlier Crewe Alexandra
goalkeeper Brian Williamson
had arrived at Elland Road as cover for Gary Sprake.
It was the second time that 19-year-old Henderson had signed
for the Elland Road club. He had first arrived with Billy Bremner
in 1959, but had returned to Scotland shortly afterwards for spells
Hearts and St Mirren and an appearance in the 1962 Scottish Cup
final for the Saints against Rangers.
Weston had earlier that season torn the United defence apart
when scoring twice in Rotherham's exciting 4-3 win at Elland Road.
He had proven himself a dangerous striker with Wrexham and Birmingham
and was renowned for his power and pace. He brought exactly the
sort of threat which Don Revie had vainly hoped that John Charles
would deliver and marked his debut on December 15 with all three
goals in a sterling win at Elland Road against Stoke City, who
were handily sitting third in the League.
Leeds' form in the weeks before the game had continued to be
patchy, although a Jim Storrie
hat trick had been the inspiration of a 6-1 win against Plymouth.
Before the game, Stoke had conceded just eight goals in 10 away
matches, but the United attack, with Storrie in fine form, shredded
them. It was Weston, however, who brought the edge, coming close
to a fourth goal when he hit the crossbar late on.
Richard Ulyatt: "It might have been five goals for Weston instead
of the most spectacular hat trick I have seen a Leeds United player
score at Elland Road in 25 years of intermittent watching. It
was an individual triumph because while Henderson provided the
pass for the first goal, Collins, Storrie and Johanneson the passes
for the second and Clamp's hasty attempted clearance the opportunity
for the third, no other player on Leeds United's books either
now or in recent years would have had the combination of speed,
self assurance and accuracy to take all the chances."
It was a stunning debut and the Storrie-Weston partnership hinted
at better things to come.
However, high flying Sunderland saw Leeds off 2-1 a week later
at Roker Park, and it was to be weeks before United could recover
from the setback because it was at this point that one of the
worst winters on record put the season on hold for more than two
months, leaving the Leeds players to kick their heels in frustration
until 2 March.
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Most of the country's grounds, and all those in the North, were
rendered unplayable by the cold weather and all consuming ice.
More worrying still for Leeds was the loss of income from gate
receipts throughout the period, with no corresponding reduction
in expenditure. Harry
Reynolds, Manny Cussins and Albert Morris made further loans to
the club to tide them over the winter and increased personal guarantees
by the board were required to secure an increased bank overdraft.
It increased the club's debt burden, but at least gave them the
necessary funds to keep them afloat.
Leeds had slumped to 13th place during their lay off as most
of their rivals returned to action in advance of the Elland Road
club. However, the tyrannical training regime of Les Cocker brought
the United players to the peak of fitness during the break and
they resumed action in far better condition than their opponents,
announcing their return with an impressive 3-1 win against Derby
Even a shock transfer request from Billy Bremner could not put
a dampener on the Elland Road revival, but it certainly worried
Don Revie, who was a big advocate of Bremner's talent and commented:
"If he goes, I go, because I want to build a team around him."
Bremner spoke of his reasons for the move: "I told the club
I wanted away and that I was not settled in Leeds. I thought it
would be different when I was married but it is not so. The club
have been all right to me. It is a pity this club was not in Scotland.
I feel I can improve my chances of getting a place in the Scotland
Under-23 team by moving to Scotland. I think I shall be happier
playing my football up there. I have not been really satisfied
with my form this season."
Bremner had actually been in and out of the side for some time,
suffering with his form, but Leeds were proving that the team
was bigger than any single player. They had shown they could cope
without Charles, and could do so without Bremner, accepting his
request and agreeing to put him on the transfer list. Tommy Henderson
had made the right wing berth his own with some impressive displays
and United were the form side of the spring, winning game after
game and soaring up the table. They continued to have matches
in hand on their rivals, and by the end of April they sat on the
verge of an unlikely promotion.
What was even more exciting, for the fans at least, was that
Leeds United had finally been able to put together something of
a decent FA Cup run. The club had by
far the worst FA Cup record in the country and had not won a tie
since February 1952, when goals by Jim Milburn and Ray Iggleden
had seen off Bradford 2-1 in the fourth round.
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Leeds' first match was at home to Stoke City, but because of
the weather the match was postponed twelve times. Rather than
the first weekend in January, the tie actually took place on Wednesday
6 March. It was a titanic struggle between two sides battling
The bog of a pitch had been left ankle deep in cloying mud after
the thaw and Leeds' superior fitness told in the first twenty
minutes as they raced into a 2-0 lead. Bobby Collins was again
in great form and opened the scoring, taking Hunter's square pass
to beat goalkeeper O'Neill from 20 yards with a hard low shot
which went in off a post. Eric Stanger: "It was fitting, for Collins
strode the battlefield throughout like a pocket Napoleon, guiding
his troops hither and thither with long passes to either wing
or with shrewd lobs over the bogged down Stoke defence."
Eight minutes later Paul Reaney added the second, coming up to
take Tommy Henderson's short corner and shoot through a packed
If Don Revie and his men thought they could coast home they were
wrong, for City began to get to grips with the conditions after
that, adopting a long ball game and pressing Leeds hard. However,
Gary Sprake and his beleaguered defence stood up well to the test,
and it was the 70th minute before Stoke managed to narrow the
deficit, Bebbington netting the rebound after Sprake spilled Ratcliffe's
That prompted a few jitters in the Leeds defence, but acting
skipper Grenville Hair, the only Leeds player who had experienced
a win in the tournament, netted a decisive goal to round off a
memorable 3-1 victory. He uncharacteristically made his way forward
in support of his attack to force a shot between keeper and near
post and bring relief to his hard pressed team mates.
Afterwards he said: "That was my gladdest moment in football.
It's only the second goal I've scored, and I don't suppose I'll
score another one now but I've had my moment. Stoke were a very
good side to beat and I think we did splendidly to score three
on that pitch. I was very proud to be acting captain last night
and I could not have had a better lot of lads. It was all compensation
for those last 10 Cup years. There's been many a joke about them
in the town, but it wasn't fun to be a player in there, I can
Goals by Storrie and Johanneson secured a hard won 2-0 victory
at Middlesbrough in the fourth round. Former United manager Raich
Carter had just taken charge at Boro and was disappointed when
his keeper Emmerson gifted Leeds both goals, but the Teessiders
had never seriously threatened Sprake's goal.
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Three days later, however, Nottingham Forest, a formidable First
Division outfit, outclassed a tiring United side 3-0 at the City
Ground. They set out to "stop Collins and keep Johanneson on the
touch line," and those tactics stymied a one dimensional attack,
rendering Storrie and Weston virtual bystanders. It was a sad
end to a heroic Cup run, but Leeds had finally shown that they
could find some success in the competition.
Harry Reynolds nonchalantly predicted that the Cup exit would
allow Leeds to concentrate on promotion, but four days later United
struggled at Norwich, finding themselves trailing 3-0 before half
time. A rally after the interval brought them back to 3-2, and
they had enough chances to win the game, but wasted them all to
finish with nothing to show for all their efforts.
They had played seven games in just 22 days and were looking
jaded. They enjoyed games in hand, but lay twelfth in the table,
eight points off the promotion places, with seemingly too much
ground to make up. It was now, however, that Leeds discovered
their real form and launched
the most unlikely of promotion bids.
A week after the Norwich reverse, United hammered a dour Grimsby
side 3-0, with Brian Williamson making his debut in goal. Leeds
weren't on their best form, but the goals came at the right time
and they were never seriously threatened. The game was dead at
the hour mark with the Yorkshire club safe with a 2-0 scoreline.
Bremner netted the first with a spectacular 20 yard drive and
shortly after the break Collins added a second. He completed the
rout in the closing seconds with the best goal of the game, getting
on the end of a passing move which had begun in the Leeds half
to finish with calm assurance.
Bremner got the only goal to secure a lucky 1-0 win at home to
Scunthorpe, but then came a disappointing 3-1 defeat away to a
decent Plymouth Argyle team, for whom McParland netted a hat trick.
That again seemed to spell an end to any hopes of going up, but
Leeds fought back. They cruised into an impressive spell of form,
hammering Preston 4-1 before enjoying an Easter period double
The Charlton games were among the first in which the negative,
timewasting tactics of later years were to be displayed by a Leeds
United side under orders by manager Revie to stifle the opposition
and secure the points after earning a lead.
The crowd "strongly objected to the way in which they taunted
Charlton in the closing stages by rolling short passes to each
other in midfield or putting the ball back to Sprake." Don Revie
saw nothing wrong with the tactics: "It is really just making
absolutely sure that you keep possession by making safe, short
passes, and that accordingly you preserve the score with your
team leading. It demands real skill, control and concentration
by the players doing it - you can easily make an expensive mistake
if you slip. But Continental crowds cheer it when successfully
done, and rightly so, in my view."
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It was an approach which would infuriate critics over the years
which followed as Don Revie honed the style. For the time being,
however, Leeds were only toying with the tactics and had not yet
mastered the art of impregnable defence.
In the next game United inexplicably collapsed 3-0 at Portsmouth,
before wins against Scunthorpe and Cardiff moved them firmly into
the promotion frame. Jim Storrie scored all three goals in the
trouncing of the Welsh side and was proving a tremendous asset,
following his switch to centre forward after the departure of
The Scot had not welcomed the move: "Really, I was an old fashioned
inside forward carrying the ball through, playing one twos. In
Scotland, no one bothered how you played and I always seemed to
be looking for people to play off. But when I was the target man,
I had the goalkeeper behind me. Individually, I think I became
a worse player. My wife Nancy told Revie this at a function one
night, but he just laughed and said, 'you may be right but they
are a very successful team.' That was true. The success glossed
over a million deficiencies. I adapted because I was caught up
in all the enthusiasm." Whatever the truth, the trick was working,
for the hat trick against Cardiff took the Scot onto 21 goals
for the season.
||Top of division two - April 27, 1963
In truth, all the United forwards were doing well, and the attack
as a unit was far more cohesive than it had been for years. The
previous season, Leeds had managed just 50 goals in the League
all season. Thus far, they had already netted an impressive 47
goals in 18 games at home, an astonishing turnaround. Bremner,
Collins and Johanneson were regular contributors on the score
sheet, although Don Weston's initial goal rush had dried up.
Leeds now faced a major challenge, with a trip to Chelsea, handily
placed at second in the table, and favourites to go up with leaders
Stoke City. They had endured a difficult run following the resumption
after the big freeze, but still boasted some of the best young
players in the country.
On the day of the game, Tuesday 30 April, Don Revie was given
a major confidence boost.
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The young manager had begun to generate national interest for
the impact he was having at Elland Road. In October he had been
forced to dismiss as "ridiculous" a report that his name was being
mentioned on the Soccer grapevine as a possible successor to Walter
as England's team manager: "As far as I am concerned it is ridiculous
even to mention me for the job. I am very happy at Leeds - even
with all the ups and downs. What I want to do is put Leeds back
on the soccer map. I have made mistakes in buying and I may make
more, but I am learning. I honestly think no manager can have
a better board of directors. They have backed me and never interfered
once. I'll do everything I can to put this club on the map. If
I fail I'm entitled to the sack."
It was Ipswich Town manager Alf Ramsey who eventually replaced
Winterbottom, but chairman Harry Reynolds decided to give his
man a visible sign of support, prompting his fellow directors
to extend the manager's contract.
In March, the Yorkshire Evening Post's Bill Mallinson wrote "Don
Revie has just completed two years as Leeds United's team manager.
When he was appointed, he signed a three year contract, but the
question now is whether United will follow the lead of other clubs
who think they have the right man at the helm and make sure in
good time that he stays at Elland Road. With the help of the board
he has set in motion a trend which this season has brought about
the desired revival at Elland Road. But it is the general spirit
prevailing at Elland Road and the store of young talent which
Mr Revie and his staff have got together over the last two years
(often in the face of keen competition from First Division clubs)
which suggest that it is now time for United to be considering
ensuring the continuity of this progress. It is known that last
close season a club in a lower grade of football was prepared
to find a bigger salary for Mr Revie than his present one, but
United, of course, with their potentiality and progressive attitude
must surely present a greater appeal for him."
The board offered him a three year extension on his contract,
tying him to Elland Road until March 1967, in recognition of his
achievements thus far in building an exciting new team. The new
contract also made him the best paid manager outside the top flight,
a status which gave Revie the material reassurance his insecure
personality demanded and appealed to his vanity.
Revie's new contract set the team up nicely for the Chelsea test.
It was a tremendous battle, with honours shared in a 2-2 draw.
Chelsea opened the scoring when Barry Bridges forced the ball
home off the post after Gary Sprake pushed out a 25 yard shot
by Moore, but Ian Lawson's
hopeful lob was fumbled into the net by Peter Bonetti three minutes
later to bring the sides level. Two more minutes and Leeds were
ahead when Lawson volleyed home after Storrie had nodded Reaney's
header on with the defence trying to play the offside trap.
The gangly Lawson had scored both goals against Scunthorpe the
week before and was obviously keen to impress in his increasingly
rare appearances - he now had four goals from his four appearances
in 1962-63. In September he had asked for a transfer following
the arrival of Charles and Storrie, but his recall to the side
and improved form now persuaded him to withdraw his request for
Chelsea refused to panic at falling behind and equalised before
half time when Blunstone powered a shot home from the edge of
back to top
After the excitement of the first half, the rest of the match
was a battle of attrition, with neither side willing to give any
ground and there were no more goals. Leeds United had been fortunate
with both their goals and had been outplayed, but manager Revie
claimed afterwards "We are still in with a very good chance of
promotion. I always feel that an away draw - especially at a place
like Chelsea who have had such a good season on their home ground
- is a splendid performance. And now that we have three matches
at home out of our five remaining fixtures we are still in with
a very good chance."
That same night Sunderland drew at Southampton, while a day later
Newcastle beat leaders Stoke City 5-2, to keep things extremely
tight. When Stoke lost 3-2 at home to Scunthorpe the following
weekend as Chelsea took a day off, the challenges of Sunderland
and Leeds gathered momentum. Sunderland hammered Southampton 4-0
while two Jim Storrie efforts (one in the last minute) and one
from Don Weston gave Leeds a flattering 3-0 win at home to Luton
Bobby Collins, according to Eric Stanger a "presiding genius",
was the architect of all United's best football, controlling the
play against Luton. Stanger: "Collins helped in Storrie's first
goal with a delightful flick inside the back and he also helped
to make the second for the dashing Weston early in the second
half. It was his centre which Baynham dropped as he was hampered
by one of his own defenders. Collins' greatest value to Leeds,
though, was his steadying influence when some of his younger colleagues
in their enthusiasm were apt either to try to play at too fast
a pace or get themselves out of position. A foot on the ball by
Collins to slow down play helped to calm taut nerves and give
the others time to sort themselves out."
||Top of division two - May 4, 1963
Leeds were very much the form team, having dropped just three
points in eight games. They looked to be on the verge of a remarkable
promotion success, with their rivals clearly showing their nerves.
However, despite battling performances and phenomenal effort,
United's season collapsed as their luck deserted them.
Sprake blundered twice in the first half at Middlesbrough to
gift the Teessiders a 2-0 lead and even a fierce second half fightback
could achieve nothing more than a consolation goal.
Chairman and manager knew that the setback was a serious one,
but sought to emphasise the positive. Harry Reynolds: "The players
could not have given one ounce more. We made mistakes, yes, but
who doesn't in the course of the season? I have no blame, nothing
but praise for a magnificent fight away from home. Nor are we
finished yet, or anything like it. All our ambitions are as high
Don Revie: "The lads were absolutely done when they came in from
a match which made me prouder than ever of them. They had made
one of the finest efforts this season, and if the result went
against us, well, isn't that football?"
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The effort of having to catch up on their fixture backlog was
finally telling on the young side. The matches at home to Huddersfield
on May 11 and at Southampton four days later were the side's 17th
and 18th matches in 75 days since returning to action after the
Big Freeze - and were clearly a step too far.
Leeds lost both games and never looked in touch as their promotion
dream disintegrated. It was a disappointing end to a tremendously
promising season. However, when the final match brought a rousing
5-0 victory at home to Swansea (guaranteeing a fifth place finish),
it recalled the heady days of the win away to the Welsh side in
September when Revie's teenagers announced
their arrival. The manager chose to use the last couple of games
to blood another young hopeful, 16-year-old wing half Jimmy
Greenhoff, who thus became the second youngest player to appear
in the first team, and the eighth teenager to feature in an extraordinary
The gamble with John Charles had been a disastrous failure, but
Don Revie's experiments with youth were far more rewarding. The
kids had paid off in a way even the optimists could not have hoped,
and the manager had every reason to congratulate himself, ending
the season by formally confirming his retirement as a player when
he announced his retained list. Billy Bremner and Willie
Bell remained on the transfer list, along with Irish international
Noel Peyton and reserve defender Tom Hallett, but the squad sparkled
with youthful talent, giving more cause for optimism at Elland
Road than for many a long year.
Of the 28 players on the retained list, 12 (Mick Bates, Terry
Cooper, Greenhoff, Henderson, Terry
Hibbitt, Hunter, Johnson, Paul Madeley, Reaney, Bobby
Sibbald, Sprake and Barrie
Wright) were teenagers, while 8 more (Addy, Bell, Bremner,
John Hawksby, Johanneson, Ian Lawson, Storrie and Brian Williamson)
were 25 or under. Peter Lorimer, David Harvey and Eddie Gray had
arrived at the club but were still too young to sign professional
Led by the phenomenal Bobby Collins, enjoying the most glorious
of Indian summers, the exciting new United outfit looked as good
as anything around, brimming over with confidence and exciting
young talent. Eric Stanger had enthused about the team in his
columns in the Yorkshire Post: "Their football at times, imaginative,
fast and crowned by hard shooting was better than much that has
been seen even in the First Division this season. Leeds are blending
in a harmony of purpose which comes from every player being prepared
to put team needs before personal achievement."
A revolution was firmly under way, the like of which has rarely
been repeated in British football.
Part 1 - Return of the king
Other Football Highlights from 1962-63
- Ipswich manager Alf Ramsey was appointed to replace Walter
Winterbottom as England manager. After a successful summer tour,
Ramsey declared, "England will win the World Cup in 1966. We
have the ability, strength, character and players with the right
- The big winter freeze that gripped the country played havoc
with football for months and forced the season to be extended
by several weeks
- Stanley Matthews chose the perfect moment to score his first
goal of the season for Stoke. They were leading 1-0 at home
to Luton in their last match of the season, and Matthews' goal
made sure of victory and the Second Division championship
- Tottenham continued to pile up the trophies, beating Atletico
Madrid 5-1 to win the European Cup Winners Cup. They thus become
the first British side to win a European trophy
- Despite the weather, Everton cruised to their first League
title since the war. Manager Harry Catterick had spent £175,000
on five players in 1961-62 and their strength in depth enabled
them to see off the challenge of Tottenham, Burnley and Leicester
with games to spare
- Manchester United were still in a transitional stage after
the Munich air disaster in 1958, so had to buy players to keep
the team afloat. Manager Matt Busby bought Denis Law back from
Italy for £115,000 at the start of the season and added Pat
Crerand from Celtic. United struggled all season in the League
and it was only in their final match away to neighbours City
that they ensured their safety. Law won a penalty against his
old club in a 1-1 draw which meant that City, rather than United,
- United were in better form in the Cup, however, beating Leicester
3-1 in the final with one goal from Law and two from David Herd.
It was United's first trophy since 1958
- Billy Wright, the former England captain, was appointed Arsenal
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